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GOMA versus COLLECTOR

High Court of Rajasthan

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GOMA v COLLECTOR-CUM-D.R.O., PALI & ANR - CW Case No. 1953 of 2003 [2005] RD-RJ 1172 (19 July 2005)

S.B. CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO.1953/2003

Goma vs.

Collector-cum-District Returning Officer, Pali and anr.

Date : 19.7.2005

HON'BLE MR. PRAKASH TATIA, J.

Mr. MS Singhvi, for the petitioner.

Mr. RPS Choudhary, AAG, for the respondents.

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Reportable

Heard learned counsel for the parties.

The brief facts of the case are that according to the petitioner, he is born citizen of India. His father as well as grand father were also born citizens of India. He owns immovable property including agriculture land in Village

Khudala Falna. He studied in India in Government Primary

School, Khudala Falna in the year 1954-55 and he was Member of Pali Central Cooperative Bank Ltd. since 17.6.1961 and he took loan from Khudala Branch of this bank in the year 1961. An abadi patta was issued in favour of his grand father and father in the year 1945 by the Jodhpur State. He was married in India with one lady 'Oti' in the year 1960 and the fact of his marriage has been entered in 'Bhat

Bahi' of the Village. Not only this, the petitioner was elected as Member of Municipal Board in the year 1983 and continued as Member till 1990 and then after re-election, he was also elected as Chairman of the Municipal Board,

Khudala Falna. Despite all these facts, the petitioner's name was deleted from the voters list by the order of the election officer dated 16.4.2002 on the ground that the petitioner is not citizen of India. Therefore, the petitioner being aggrieved against the order of Election

Officer dated 16.4.2002 preferred appeal under Rule 23 of the Registration of Electoral Rules, 1960. The appellate authority dismissed the appeal vide order dated 27.2.2003.

The petitioner being aggrieved against these two orders, has preferred this writ petition.

According to learned counsel for the petitioner, the facts referred above and other evidences clearly reveal that the petitioner is a citizen of India. His citizenship was never questioned by anybody and the petitioner is not claiming that he obtained citizenship under the provisions of Act of 1950 but he is claiming that he is born citizen.

The petitioner's citizenship once accepted by the State

Government and all the authorities, then if they had any doubt about the same, then they should have referred the matter to the Government for decision under the Citizenship

Act, 1955 (for short "the Act of 1955") as provided under

Section 13.

According to learned counsel for the petitioner, the petitioner's case is standing on higher footing in as much as, the petitioner has placed on record the trustworthy documents and also relying upon the order of the State

Government which clearly reveals that the State Government accepted the petitioner as citizen of India and, therefore, they have no right to question the citizenship of the petitioner.

According to learned counsel for the petitioner, the petitioner since is a political leader and has influence and to remove the petitioner, the respondents have no option but to take such plea that too in a case when the petitioner remained Member of the Municipal Board for such a long period and was a Chairman of the Municipal Board.

According to learned counsel for the petitioner, the

State Government itself dropped the proceedings against the petitioner and still the Election Officer has passed the order of removal of name of the petitioner from the electoral-roll.

According to learned counsel for the petitioner, in any case either it is a case of doubt about the petitioner's citizenship, then without obtaining decision on the citizenship of the petitioner, the petitioner's name could not have been removed from the electoral-roll and in case, evidence which has been placed on record is considered, then those documents clearly prove that the petitioner is citizen of India.

Learned counsel for the respondents vehemently submitted that the petitioner himself applied for extension of VISA for remaining in India and he admitted that he is

Pakistani citizen. He also admitted that he entered in

India on 15.10.1965 only. He submitted several applications for extension of his stay in India upon which reports were submitted by the police officers and thereafter several appropriate orders were passed for extension of his stay in

India. It is also submitted that since it is a case of serious doubt about the citizenship of the petitioner, if the contention of the petitioner is accepted, then also, the petitioner is required to obtain a certificate of citizenship as provided under the Act of 1950.

I have considered the submissions of learned counsel for the parties.

It is clear from the facts mentioned above particularly in view of the fact that the petitioner himself applied for extension of his stay in India by moving one after another application atleast since 1981 till the year 2001 after admitting therein that he entered in India only in 15.10.1965, it does not lie in the mouth of the petitioner that he signed the application for obtaining VISA for 20 years under pressure of police. He probably forget that he was elected member of the Panchayat and even he was

Chairman of the Gram Panchayat and was moving freely in

India. The long continuation of his name in the voters list is a fact which only proves that he stayed in India but at the same time, his stay was only on the strength of the permissions which he obtained from the competent authorities permitting him to stay in India as Pakistani citizen and, therefore, if the election officer on earlier occasion entered his name in the voters list and continued that entry for a long period, that doesn't mean that the petitioner acquired citizenship of India or the issue of the petitioner's citizenship stand decided by it.

According to learned counsel for the petitioner, the documents which were relied upon by the petitioner have not been rejected by the Election Officer or the Appellate

Authority and the Election Officer even held that the documents produced by the petitioner may be evidence for proving his citizenship but these documents are not proving the citizenship of the petitioner. According to learned counsel for the petitioner by this way, the trustworthy evidence cannot be rejected.

I find no force in above submission of learned counsel for the petitioner in view of the fact that the documents referred in the order of the Election officer dated 16.4.2002 and which relied upon by the petitioner may be evidence before the authority who can decide the issue of citizenship of the petitioner and the Election Officer was not competent to accept or refer those documents as evidence as the Election Officer had no jurisdiction to decide about the question of citizenship of the petitioner and he could have only refused to enter the name of the petitioner in the elector-roll on finding that the petitioner prima-facie failed to prove his citizenship of

India.

The facts mentioned above clearly reveal that it cannot be said to be a case of frivolous doubt about the question of citizenship of the petitioner and at the cost of repetition, it may be mentioned again that the petitioner obtained the extension of his stay in India atleast since 1981 to 2001 for which the documents have been shown by learned counsel for the State, therefore, this Court is not inclined to interfere in the orders passed by the Election

Officer and the Appellate Authority and it cannot be said that the authorities have wrongly deleted the name of the petitioner from the voters list. The petitioner will be free to take steps to obtain citizen certificate under the

Citizenship Act, 1955.

In view of the above discussion, this writ petition, having no merit, is hereby dismissed.

(PRAKASH TATIA), J.

S.Phophaliya


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Reproduced in accordance with s52(q) of the Copyright Act 1957 (India) from judis.nic.in, indiacode.nic.in and other Indian High Court Websites

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